Saturday, March 31, 2012

Twisted Paths of Fate - Part 5

Yes indeed, I finally figured out a suitable title for my formerly "Untitled Short-Story":
Twisted Paths of Fate 

And here is finally the next part, which sort of started with another prompt from Lindsay. However, I won't tell you yet what it was, since it actually inspired me for a scene near the end of the story. No spoilers for now ;)
I hope you enjoy this part nevertheless.

-> the beginning
-> previous part

"Tell me about that world of yours, Valeria." He leaned back, making himself comfortable in the high-backed chair. Alexander knew better than to meet a seer's eyes too long, and so he watched the ruby-red liquid in his cup. Patience was not one of his strengths, but he forced himself to appear generous and calm. The past years have trained him in recognizing how to deal with any friend and foe.
"It is boundless, in a way you can't possibly understand. I can see what is happening in every corner of the world at any point in time. My advice helps to decide the fate of countless people." She sat straight like a lady, one hand on the table, the other resting in her lap. The wooden staff with the eternal flame leaned on the edge of the table, it would never be far from her.
"Is that so? Really? I've heard that your gift is exceptionally strong. It seems your reputation was not exaggerated." Now it was him who sounded unimpressed.
Of course, by the time the contract was struck, no less than three great mages had proclaimed she could turn into a promising seer, provided she soon got proper training. And Alexander's father had not only the interest but also the means to keep eyes and ears on her to make sure she didn't disappoint his expectations. The amber talisman which lay between them on the table was proof that the royal family still wanted this union.
Valeria did not mind that her future husband being aware of her abilities. It didn't need the vision to know that he and everyone else who would be bound to her through this marriage would expect to use her visions to their advantage.
"What do you want? Most people are rather eager to ask their questions after they made the effort to come to me, even if they already know the price.” Patience wasn't her strength, either, but she had no reason to disguise it. “Do you know the price, Alexander Knevash?" Seer's might not always tell all they knew, but they didn't deceive people. No matter if she used it for a stranger, her husband or herself – her gift always demanded something in return.
"I want you to come with me."
This caught Valeria by surprise. It was not the request of a prediction. In fact, it wasn't a request at all. Her ears were not used to that. For a moment, she even had difficulties to understand what he was saying. Again, he had not acted like she had expected it. It didn't help at all that she knew this mistake occurred only because she had not consulted the flame about this meeting. With his arrival, she was entering a blind spot in her visions.
Finally, she took a deep breath to calm herself and stifle a sigh at his stolidity. She hated repetition, almost as much as being surprised.
"I already told you ..."
"Come with me and see the world with your own eyes, not through the flame. Touch the velvety petals of blood-red Archaris with your own fingers, smell the sweet, shimmering moss in the Golden Forest and hear the mating-songs of the butterflies in Zarran, which makes your head dizzy in the most pleasant way. If you think you'll miss your nice view, I'll bring you to the Wandering Desert of Khalandy, where the dunes vary between the colours of heather and silver. We can go there by riding on an ekara, since a Water Bridge obviously won't be out of the question."
He winked at her.
Valeria blinked speechlessly. He actually had winked at her, after his parade of words.
Not only did he not request a vision, he didn't show any interest in the answers she might be able to give him and his allies. Furthermore, he insisted on taking her away from here, out into the world, but not for his own amusement or to present her to his family and enemies. He wanted her step out of her tower and leave the valley. She had seen most of the places he mentioned in the flame, always curious about where the people came from who asked for her help. Never before had she let herself even dream of visiting those far away wonders by herself. That was not the way of a seer.
Once again, Alexander let his gaze wander, as if their conversation was only unimportant small-talk. He studied the round room which filled out most of the towers base. A few paces to his left a rail-less stairway started to climb upwards, made of the same dark stone as the wall, looking like it had grown right out of it. The ceiling was a bit lower than in a regular house, and he wondered how many floors might be fitted into the building. It definitely looked smaller on the outside.
Valeria used this to chance a look towards her staff. The fire revealed nothing.
'Is this the choice I have to make? The one question that can't be answered with the help of a vision?'
She regarded the man opposite her, taking in consideration all she had learned from the many times she had watched him with her gift, and what was now presented to her in the flesh. There was no doubt that he had grown into a fine, strong and resourceful man. Aside the influence of his family, he had connections and magic of his own at his command.
"You know, there is only one way that a seer can go out into the world like you suggest."

-> part six


  1. Yeah a title for your story! I like it. You've got a really interesting conversation going on here and I can't wait to see what Valeria decides...(=

    1. So, later than I had planned, the next part is up. I'm still pleased with my title and where the story is going. I hope Valeria's decision doesn't disappoint.